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The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is a means by which Canada, the United States and Mexico can work together to find approaches that address common issues. There are two main complementary themes in the partnership, the Security Agenda and the Prosperity Agenda. Initiatives under these agendas support continued, prosperous trade between the countries, while ensuring that the each nation ― and the continent as a whole ― remains secure against external threats and criminal activity. The security and prosperity of a country go hand in hand.

Both agendas are based on the principle of the three North American countries working together to remove duplication and therefore reduce costs and burdens on exporters, importers and travellers. There is also a commitment to find consistencies ― for example, practices proposed or adopted in one country might address similar needs in the others.   

Enhancing the safety and security of Canadians

The SPP Security Agenda is oriented toward finding more effective ways to enhance the safety and security of Canadians, while supporting our need to efficiently move legitimate goods and people across our border, as well as through ports and airports. 

By working more closely with our U.S. and Mexican counterparts, Canada can expand the reach and effectiveness of our law enforcement agencies, whether in communities, working abroad, or at our country's borders, ports and airports. Canadians want their streets to be safe; keeping illegal weapons, drugs and criminals out of the country will significantly contribute to reduced crime and increased security for both residents and visitors to Canada. A risk-management approach is helping to identify threats before they reach North America; close collaboration with our neighbours is critical in such an approach.

Working under the principles of the SPP, the leaders have committed to reduce the potential impact of emergency situations, whether caused by natural disaster, accident, deliberate action or technological failure. They work together on emergency planning and measures to enhance preparedness and response capacities. From participating in joint emergency simulations to cooperating on security science efforts, the emergency management organizations of the three countries collaborate to achieve mutual goals.

The Security Agenda is not only about strengthening security and law enforcement capacity or responding to disasters that have already occurred. It's about helping to set up easy-to-use systems that facilitate the movement of low-risk travellers and carriers of Canadian goods and services to the country's largest trading partners and markets. It also requires secure and efficient transportation systems (sea, land, air) in North America. And it's about making sure that information on food alerts or public health issues is received and acted on in time to make a real difference to our economy.

In Canada, all of these security-related efforts are being coordinated through an SPP Security Agenda Coordinator, working under the leadership of the Minister of Public Safety. A similar coordinator manages efforts under the Prosperity Agenda. The two coordinators ― who are in constant contact with each other and work with counterparts in the United States and Mexico ― focus on specific goals through the efforts of Working Groups. These groups in turn guide the efforts of the respective federal departments and agencies in the creation or revision of policies, services and agreements related to each goal.

Under the SPP Security Agenda, there are ten goals and therefore ten Working Groups:

Together, these groups support the establishment of integrated and collaborative approaches that:

  • Secure North America from external threats,
  • Prevent and respond to threats within North America,
  • Further streamline the secure movement of low-risk traffic across borders;
  • Enhance the security and efficiency of transportation systems;
  • Enhance food safety and animal health initiatives,
  • Protect, prevent and respond to cross-border terrorist incidents and natural disasters,
  • Protect and respond to risks to shared critical infrastructure, and
  • Establish protocols for mutual assistance in a public health emergency, such as planning against a pandemic influenza.